The path from ictus to Neurosurgery: chronology and transport logistics of patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage in the South-Eastern Norway Health Region

  • Angelika SortebergEmail author
  • Per Poelhøi Bredmose
  • Andreas Ernst Hansen
  • Wilhelm Sorteberg
Original Article - Vascular Neurosurgery - Aneurysm
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Vascular Neurosurgery – Aneurysm



Guidelines state that patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage (aSAH) require neurosurgical treatment as early as possible. Little is known about the time frame of transport from the ictus scene to Neurosurgery in large, partially remote catchment areas. We therefore analysed the chronology and transport logistics of aSAH patients in the South-Eastern Norway Health Region and related them to the frequency of aneurysm rebleed and 1-year mortality.


Retrospective analysis of aSAH patients bleeding within our region admitted to Neurosurgery during a 5-year period. Date, time and site of ictus and arrival at Neurosurgery, distance and mode of transport and admission were obtained from our institutional quality register and the emergency medical communication centre log. We scored the patients’ clinical condition, rebleeds and 1-year mortality.


Five hundred forty-four patients were included. Median time from ictus to arrival Neurosurgery was 4.5 h. Transport by road ambulance was most common at distances between the ictus scene and Neurosurgery below 50 km, whereas airborne transport became increasingly more common at larger distances. Direct admissions, frequency of intubation and airborne transport to Neurosurgery increased with the severity of haemorrhage, leading to shorter transport times. The risk of rebleed was 0.8%/hour of transport. The rebleed rate was independent of distances travelled, but increased with the severity of aSAH, reaching up to 6.54%/hour in poor-grade patients. Distance and time of transport had no impact on 1-year mortality, whereas poor-grade aSAH and rebleed were strong predictors of mortality.


Poor-grade aSAH patients have a high risk of rebleed independent of the distance between the ictus scene and Neurosurgery. As rebleeding triples 1-year mortality, patients with Glasgow Coma Score < 9 with suspected aSAH should be admitted directly to Neurosurgery without delay after best possible cardiovascular and airway optimisation on site by competent personnel.


Aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage Transport Rebleeding Emergency medicine Hunt and Hess score 



Aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage


Confidence interval


Computed tomography


Computed tomography angiography


Glasgow Coma Scale


Helicopter Emergency Medical Services


Odds ratio


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For this type of study, formal consent is not required. Data retrieval has been approved by the institutional data protection officer.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryOslo University Hospital, RikshospitaletOsloNorway
  2. 2.Institute of Clinical MedicineUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  3. 3.Prehospital Division, Air Ambulance DepartmentOslo University HospitalOsloNorway

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